Community Champions Awards 2020

Brighton Community Champions TDC Community Development

The TDC Community Champions awards were launched on Thursday 20th February 2020. These awards are given to inspirational individuals in Brighton & Hove whose hard work giving back to their community makes a huge positive difference to people’s lives. The Community Champions were selected by a panel of local people including TDC trustees and leaders from communities across the city.   

The Mayor of Brighton & Hove, Councillor Alex Phillips, presented the awards at our AGM, at which we also premiered a film about our work and enjoyed performances by people we work with – young people Cody and Chelsea sang, and musicians Jamal and Alaa performed a set of Syrian and Lebanese folk songs. 

Read on to find out more about our 2020 Community Champions and see a video of the awards being presented… 

Mike Noble

Mike has been the Chairperson of Friends of Downlands Court since 2010. He has worked tirelessly to raise funds to provide activities, outings and equipment at Downlands Court for the benefit of people over the age of 60 who live there and of older people in the wider communities of Peacehaven, Newhaven, East Saltdean and Telscombe Cliffs. He heads up the team of volunteers who support these activities, ensuring that they are acknowledged and thanked for their commitment. Mike produces a monthly newsletter to keep everyone informed about how they can be involved with Downlands Court and spends a lot of time building up useful community contacts (for example, schools, the police, town councils, and other voluntary sector groups) throughout the Havens.

(Nominated by TDC’s Sue Sayers who collected the award on his behalf.)

Bevendean Food Bank, Coffee Morning and Advice Service

This group are all fantastic volunteers that give their free time to manage and run the food bank weekly for 48 weeks of the year every Wednesday. They provide a community café space with first cup free with biscuits and then low cost from then on. They liaise with and provide a variety of other services to the attendees including Mind, Money Advice Plus, the local councillor drop-ins, job club plus lots more. Not only that but they apply for funding and organise a FareShare delivery every week to provide a huge amount of individuals and families with food and toiletries. They advertise and make links with local businesses for donations including the local harvest festival from the primary school. The group not only do this at the Wednesday session but go above and beyond by providing one off deliveries to those less able to get to the food bank or those needing food on another day if they missed the food bank day. In 2019 the group supported 212 people to get food and 83 of those were families. 70 Families were helped with food bags just on one day – Weds 18th Dec the last day before Christmas closure – one of the busiest days of the food bank when the group also organised a Christmas party and raffle for everyone to receive a free gift. It has been great working with the group who are so motivated to helping people no matter when it’s needed, they are there to support local people and help them in anyway they can. They should all be extremely proud of themselves.

(Nominated by TDC’s Kalishia Davey)

bevendean Food bank Community Champions Brighton
Bevendean Food Bank volunteers receive their Community Champions awards

Norma Chanuluka

Norma is involved with a range of community activity and projects in Hollingdean. She is an active member and resident involved with the tenant’s association in Hollingdean amongst other projects. For example, she has started the local knitting group after identifying a group of women that were isolated due to long term conditions and/or were recovering from tobacco/alcohol addiction. She is also involved with the local community edible garden in her neighbourhood. Norma is also involved with a range of citywide projects as well as playing a very active role in her church.

(Nominated by TDC’s Ceza DaLuz)

Brighton Community Champions TDC
Norma Chanuluka receives her Community Champion award

Tracey Silsby

When it comes to talking about Whitehawk and what works within the community, Tracey is a pivotal asset. Not only is she a joyful, chatty wonderful member of the community she also runs the Hawks Community Café based at the Whitehawk Hub. During our time setting up the youth café Tracey has played a vital role in talking to the community, helping to promote the sessions as well as being an inspiring individual to the young people who attend. Every week Tracey stays to chat and check in with members of the youth team and the young people, she spends time getting to know the young people and members of the community and helps to bridge the gaps between ages as well as providing information between community groups and other resources that individuals may not be aware of. Tracey is an incredible asset to the Whitehawk team and is always ready to go above and beyond, She tries her best to meet the needs of the community and is always up for a challenge. I think it is fair to say that without her support, guidance and help the hawks youth café would not be able to function.

(Nominated by TDC’s Sophie Murphy and Caroline Vitta)

Brighton Community Champion TDC
Tracey Silsby receives her Community Champion award

The ADHD Aware Group

The ADHD Aware Group has been supporting Adults with ADHD and other associated Neuro-Diverse conditions since 2011in Brighton and Hove and further afield. It’s a Free service run by dedicated volunteer Committee and Volunteers who staff the drop-in sessions. They offer a safe and nurturing peer led space for people to come together and support each other on their journeys to diagnosis through to everyday experiences of living with ADHD. This includes a family, friends and Partners drop-in where people living with a loved one with ADHD can also come together to help each other and a themed discussion group, where the members choose the topic and share tips and solutions on how to thrive whilst living with a Neuro-Diverse condition. I have seen this group save lives, give people their dignity and confidence back and most importantly, show people the positive nature of ADHD and how to open up opportunities for good. Where, before, it felt like there were none or there were simply too many barriers to climb and they just needed a guiding hand. They have given over and above for almost a Decade and I feel this reward would really show them, the power of what they do for others is incredibly valued by so many. They showed me that Neuro-Diversity when enabled, and treated equally, is like a ‘superpower’ a hidden talent lying latent just waiting to be discovered. Employers are now waking up to this fact, and the tide is turning, due to groups like this who strive to educate and inform on the positives of living with ADHD. I have the upmost respect and admiration for ADHD Aware Group and the lives it touches. 

(Nominated by TDC’s Claire Burchell)

Brighton Community Champion awards TDC
The ADHD Aware group receive their Community Champion award

Ann Menhinick

Ann is a founder member of the Purple People Kitchen (PPK), the vital foodbank for the Portslade community which has been running successfully since 2012. The PPK provides a hot meal every Friday afternoon at Portslade Town Hall and distributes food items to its clients as well as providing support and advice to those who need it. They were winners of the 2017 Community Stars Award from the Argus newspaper and would not exist if it wasn’t for the dedication of the many volunteers that run the kitchen on a weekly basis. As Ann has said “their commitment to work, to collect, cook and store food is commendable. They work hard to improve the lives of those who come to us with the knowledge that we have the continued support of a very strong public spirited local community”. Ann rightly praises the volunteers and local community but she too deserves credit for keeping the PPK going all these years hence my nomination.

(Nominated by TDC’s Mark Drayton)

Brighton Community Champion awards TDC
Ann Menhinick receives her Community Champion award

Sara Fernee

Sara Fernee is a beacon and champion for her community and has grown more and more involved over the last years. Her passion is getting children and young people to experience the outdoors, nature and woodlands in the local community through her Fernee Forest Club, which provides forest school sessions in the local woodland in Lower Bevendean. Sara and her group have also started to invite the wider community by running Friday evening Fire & Feast sessions where not only children but adults can play in the woodland, experience outdoor cooking and eating. Sara is very community minded and loves the challenge of working collaboratively with the community garden, Bevendean Chomp, schools and other groups in the area. In 2019, she became a champion for local green spaces with a project idea of connecting Bevendean & Moulsecoomb through the Bevendean Downland, with the aim to create a map to make local nature trails accessible for everyone. Most recently, she headed the campaign to keep the old Scout Hut (an important historic community space in Lower Bevendean) an asset for the community. On top of all that, she also likes getting involved in other committees in the ward, such as Action in Bevendean Community, Moulsecoomb & Bevendean Neighbourhood Forum, Friends of Maggie’s Corner and running “little” side projects such as planting dozens of trees on the local primary school’s playing field and starting an orchard with pupils to encourage healthy eating.

(Nominated by TDC’s Anke Thurm)

Brighton Community Champion awards TDC
Sara Fernee receives her Community Champion award


The film was created by filmmaker Amber Rose Morgan –

Brighton Community Champion awards TDC

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